Saturday, November 24, 2007

A lesson learned

Never leave your bike on the driveway behind the van, but especially not on Black Friday.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Weird Thanksgiving

We were invited over to a friend's house for Thanksgiving, but we've all been so busy lately that we really just wanted to hang, rest, watch copious amounts of television.

I wanted to spend the entire day cooking only to have things turn out weird. It's true, just weird.

Where should I start? The apple pie was delicious, but we ate it yesterday morning, so that doesn't count. The pumpkin pies we ate this morning also turned out very good, as did the banana cream and the chocolate cream. The cherry was a different matter. The crust on it was weird. I have no idea how I screwed it up, but I succeeded. It didn't brown, was exceptionally sticky and hard to roll out, but then was dry and didn't hold together after it had cooked. Tasted OK, just an odd texture.

The potatoes were mealy, so I had to send Dave to the store at 2pm for more. I just cannot do Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes. And the weird thing about that is I haven't been able to ruin potatoes in at least 5 years. Who knows what I did wrong on those. The second batch was delicious. I ate many.

I knew I was in trouble with the turkey when I got it out last night and the giblets and neck were still frozen inside. The outside fridge doesn't hold it's temperature so it was too cold to thaw it all the way. No problem, I adjusted dinner for 4 instead of 2. Plenty of time to thaw it in the sink! Thank goodness, it turned out fine. It was really juicy too. Maybe the water bath paid off! :)

The first batch of rolls was heavy and yeasty. Too little rise time. They still got gobbled up, but before I knew how heavy they were, I started another batch to be sure we had enough rolls for sandwiches tomorrow. There are 24 left over, so that should get us through Sunday quite nicely!

The sweet potatoes were probably the weirdest of all. Every single one of the kids ate them. Not only that, Dave ate them too. In the past 13 years I have lived with him, I have never seen him do more than choke down a bite of sweet potatoes, and only if the person who made them is watching. Apparently, that new recipe I tried is a keeper.

At any rate, it was not a relaxing day, but I was extremely glad I hadn't tried to cook things for people besides our family. I would have been totally stressed out, rather than just a little grumpy from my lack of cooking karma.

The kids had a rousing game of Charades after dinner. I wish I had remembered to get a camera out at any point today!

And, it's quite relaxing now.

Hope everyone else is also enjoying their post-gluttony stupor.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


P.S. Not my mouse or my printer

Forget the Turkey. It's all about the PIE!!!

Let the pie baking begin. On the schedule for this year:
1 Cherry
2 Apple
4 Pumpkin (we'll see Rebi, we'll see)
2 Banana Cream
1 Chocolate Cream

I believe that is 10, just like in years past. Break out the Mountain Dew, I'm going in!
Here are some tips for perfect pie crust:

Monday, November 19, 2007

About an Hour

When all of the kids were little and we traveled a lot, we were constantly peppered with the typical "Wheeeeen will we geeeeeet there?" "How much loooooooonger?" "Are we close yet? Huh? Are we? Are we close?" and every other imaginable way to ask, "Can I get out of this stupid car seat and run around again yet?!?!"

In a fit of inspiration, either Dave or I answered with, "about an hour". I think we were 10 minutes from our destination, so we got a few minutes of peace and then lots of excitement when they arrived much sooner than they thought. Somehow, "about an hour" stuck. "How much longer?" "About an hour." "When will we get there?" "About an hour." "Are we almost there?" "About an hour." You get the picture. It didn't take long for them to catch on and try to get around it, but for the most part, they just stopped asking because they were so sick of getting the same (or nearly the same- "about 60 miles") answer every single time they asked.

That is, everyone except for Nate. He just can't stand getting the same answer every time. Rather than stop asking, he asks in every creative way possible. "Are you sure we're going the right way?" "Are we almost to a bathroom?" "Are we stopping for gas soon?" "Can I unbuckle yet?" And really, on and on and on. I had no idea there were so many ways to ask when a trip would end. Then again, we all know about his complete inability to sit still. Long car trips really must be something close to torture for the poor kid. Not just sitting, but buckled into one position for hours! The horror!

Sorry. Back to the story. The whole point of this is that tonight, he got me.
"Mom, is it our exit next?"
"No Nate, not for awhile yet."
"I know it's not about an hour mom. The sign said 13 miles." (say this in a very condescending way because mom is not very bright)
"But Nate, there's lot's of traffic."
"But you're driving fast, not slow."
"So when do you think we'll be home, Nate?"
"About 5:17" (it was 5:02 on the clock).

We pulled into the driveway at 5:18. "See mom? I told you it wasn't about an hour."

Looks like he has worn out another one of my coping techniques. Luckily, I can apparently just make up algebra problems for him to figure out, thus allowing him to calculate the distance and stay occupied for a few minutes of each and every agonizing trip we take from this point forward. Lucky kid. How many 6 year olds can brag about being trapped in a car seat against their will AND tortured with algebra at the same time?

I should be in bed

It's late and I'm a little melancholy. It's times like these when the wieght of motherhood weighs heavily. Especially for these kids, the ones who are always a little off kilter. They don't have a natural niche, an easy friendship. They must prove themselves over and over again, or adapt themselves to be someone they are not. Pretend to be dumb, pretend to not care about the things that give them passion, make them weird.

Kids they think they are safe with see a slice of the real child and turn on them, citing their weirdness, pointing out that they are a step behind or ahead of everyone else's drummer. How do you parent that? How do you wipe the tears when you know they face a lifetime of being odd, different, off kilter? How do you give them a thick enough skin to ignore all of the crap and dance their dance and just not worry what other tunes are playing? After spending a life of trying yourself to to fit in and never finding purchase, how do you teach them it's OK to be unique?

I'll probably erase this after I get some sleep.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Study of Islam

islam.JPG (54644 bytes)

At the recommendation of a friend, I have started a brief study of Islam. I haven't put a lot of effort in, just reading while waiting for kids to get done in piano, or right before bedtime. It is quite possible that in all of the reading I've done in my life, this is some of the most difficult. I find that the Arabic words are nearly nonsensical to me, just from lack of experience. In addition, there are so very many different factions of Islam and so many different regimes influenced or caused by Islam, I have a hard time keeping them straight.

However, I am fascinated by the history of the religion itself, specifically the account of Muhammad and how he received the revelation which is now the Quran, or in American, the Koran. Many of the fundamental, early beliefs are similar to mine: the worship of one god, the Only God, according to Islam. Muslims wear white on their pilgrimage to Mecca in order to symbolize equality of all man. They are supposed to treat all Muslims as equals, with no distinction between orphans, beggars or rich men. Muhammad himself lived a very austere life style. The word Islam means "surrender" as in "to surrender to the will of the One God". In early Islam, Jews, Christians and Muslims lived in harmony, respecting each others' religions.

Anyway, I'm only 1/2 way through the books I'm reading and I expect that there is a lot more information than I can do justice to. If anyone else in interested in learning more about Islam, I think "Islam A Concise Introduction" by Neal Robinson is probably the most accessible. I just stepped into our library and checked a bunch of books out, so there are likely even better references if you were to check on Amazon.